Initiative Overview:Having access to the right information at the right time is vital to making tactical, strategic, and planning decisions in the homeland security arena. Virtual USA is an initiative designed to support decision making by providing local, state, tribal, and federal homeland security practitioners with the capability to access and share relevant voice, data, imagery, or other information, regardless of where it is stored and the device used to access it, and among jurisdictions, states, regions, and nationally.
CID, working with other partners, such as the R-Tech program, within the Science and Technology Directorate, will advance application and platform agnostic technologies, standards, governance models and other tools, to establish a standards-based open information infrastructure that facilitates information sharing and collaboration. The Virtual USA initiative is not a specific project or program, but is a way of thinking at the practitioner level and a way of organizing efforts at the national level, focusing on the following key points:
* Building on existing investments: Significant resources have already been expended on many information sharing platforms, architectures, viewers, and other solutions including Virtual Alabama and DHSEarth. Virtual USA does not seek to replace these, but instead integrate them into a system of systems model and leverage their successes for the largest possible community.
* Practitioner-driven: Virtual USA begins with state and local homeland security practitioner requirements and employs pilot projects to demonstrate the value of technologies and other solutions to jurisdictions across the nation.
* Vertical and horizontal integration: Virtual USA is designed to facilitate the exchange of information among all relevant homeland security practitioners, regardless of the jurisdiction served or the communications technology in use in any jurisdiction.
* Broadly, applicable, low-cost, self-reinforcing business model: Sharing information across practitioners, jurisdictions, and disciplines must not involve high financial or human capital costs or other barriers to entry as its success depends on its ability to be as inclusive as possible, with incentives for all practitioners to ensure the accuracy of the data and a relatively low cost.
This collaborative initiative includes projects throughout all of CID.